By Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Media Services
Celebrity Travel by Jae-Ha Kim
9:30 AM EDT, September 30, 2013
R and B singer Ywada, who hails from Tampa, Fla., says that it didn't come as a surprise to family and friends when she decided to pursue a career in music. Born to a singer and a sound engineer, she grew up in a household filled with music. Now 26, the mononymous artist is celebrating the release of her current single "Count Me Out." She's also working with the Women's Breast Health Initiative (WBHI) to bring awareness to breast cancer -- a disease her close family and friends have had to battle. This fall, the WBHI will offer a free download of Ywada's music via websites such as flbreasthealth.com, b4pink.com and ywadamusic.com. Donations, of course, are encouraged. To keep updated on Ywada's music, you may follow her on Twitter (at)ywada3.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. One of my favorite spots is Disney World. I really like going there because it gives me a getaway. Also, when we check in at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, it's amazing how you can see the animals outside your window. I guess you can say I'm really a kid at heart!
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. Miami South Beach is what I call a weekend getaway, because the beaches are amazing. And when I do go down there I always stay at the W South Beach (http://www.wsouthbeach.com/). It really feels like a home away from home. Plus, my girlfriends and I really like LIV (http://www.livnightclub.com/) at the Fontainebleau.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. I like the Loews (http://www.loewshotels.com/en/Atlanta-Hotel(QUESTIONMARK)chebs(EQUALSIGN)gsematlanta&skwcid(EQUALSIGN)TC|21781|lowes(PERCENTSIGN)20hotel(PERCENTSIGN)20atlanta||S|p|21997223490) in midtown Atlanta. They have great customer service every time I go. I like the Hollywood Roosevelt (http://www.hollywoodluxuryhotels.com) in Los Angeles. It reminds me of Miami in more ways than one. I also love the Trump Hotel (http://www.trumphotelcollection.com/central-park/) in New York City since it's so close to Central Park.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. I have many cities that I would consider my favorite, but if I had to choose: Manhattan, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Orlando and Miami.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. People in Atlanta are so welcoming to me. As soon as I get off the plane, they are so friendly -- even as we're walking through the airport.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. I would love to go to Turtle Island, Fiji (http://www.turtlefiji.com). I would also love to go to Nice, France because I hear that it's very beautiful there and I want to see all the wonderful sites that people always talk about. And I definitely want to try the food!
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. My shoes, make-up and definitely a lot of accessories for all my different outfits. I've got to stay fly! (Laughs)
Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. My dream fantasy trip would be to see a lot of different countries for a whole month. I would just shop away, relax, learn the different cultures and enjoy family!
Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. I like Tommy Bahama (http://www.tommybahama.com/TBG/StoresRestaurants/Sarasota.jsp) in Sarasota, Fla. They have a really good crusted snapper. The Atlanta Fish Market in Georgia, the Ocean Prime (http://www.oceanprimetampa.com) in Tampa and the One Fish Two Fish (http://www.onefish-twofish.com/) in New York. Those are some of my favorite restaurants, but I have to be careful what I eat to stay fit for my day job!
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
A. Chocolate cheesecake. I got to have it. It's like a must-have at times. Also, I like shoes, so I go to any mall when I'm away and just burn the card!
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I study the area so I can see what they have there, what the people are like and where I can shop.
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. My best vacation was in Orlando when I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton. The ambiance was something like I had never experienced before. It was so relaxing and I had the best massage of my life. I really enjoyed myself. It was just simple fun.
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at http://www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)
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